Conservation Advisory Group – Response to Old Town Consultation by Roger Amerena

brighton-old-town

Brighton Old Town Conservation Area
Draft Consultation
Conservation Advisory Group
Suggested comments on five questions set out on the
BHCC consultation portal.

By Roger Amerena

13-12-2016
1 Do you have any comments to make on the summary of the area’s historic
development? Has anything important been omitted?
2 Do you agree with the general assessment of what factors make up the
special interest of the Old Town conservation area, in terms of its character
and appearance?
3 Do you agree with the spatial analysis of the conservation area – the
pattern of the streets, the important spaces and buildings and the key
views?
4 Do you agree with the identification of four distinct ‘character areas’ within
Old Town?
5 Do you have any other comments to make on the draft Character
Statement?
1 Do you have any comments to make on the summary of the area’s historic
development? Has anything important been omitted?
2 Do you agree with the general assessment of what factors make up the
special interest of the Old Town conservation area, in terms of its character
and appearance?
3 Do you agree with the spatial analysis of the conservation area – the
pattern of the streets, the important spaces and buildings and the key
views?
4 Do you agree with the identification of four distinct ‘character areas’ within
Old Town?
5 Do you have any other comments to make on the draft Character
Statement?
1 Do you have any comments to make on the summary of the area’s historic
development? Has anything important been omitted?
2 Do you agree with the general assessment of what factors make up the
special interest of the Old Town conservation area, in terms of its character
and appearance?
3 Do you agree with the spatial analysis of the conservation area – the
pattern of the streets, the important spaces and buildings and the key
views?
4 Do you agree with the identification of four distinct ‘character areas’ within
Old Town?
5 Do you have any other comments to make on the draft Character
Statement?

2 Do you agree with the general assessment of what factors make up the
special interest of the Old Town conservation area, in terms of its character
and appearance?
3 Do you agree with the spatial analysis of the conservation area – the
pattern of the streets, the important spaces and buildings and the key
views?
4 Do you agree with the identification of four distinct ‘character areas’ within
Old Town?
5 Do you have any other comments to make on the draft Character
Statement?
Roger Amerena
Important Views
To be illustrated in the OTCA document
a. East Street north to Castle Square
b. East Street south from Castle Square
c. North Street from Castle Square
d. West Street south from the Clock Tower
e. West Street north from South Street
f. Ship Street south from North Street
g. Prince Albert Street from junction with Ship Street
h. Prince Albert Street west from the middle of the east section
i. Black Lion Street north to Lane End House
j. All views of the Town Hall
k. Middle Street looking north from South Street
l. Ship Street north from the Old Ship Hotel
m. East Street north from seafront
n. Market Street north from Town Hall
o. Seafront promenades
p. Seascape from Palace Pier.
3 Do you agree with the spatial analysis of the conservation area – the
pattern of the streets, the important spaces and buildings and the key
views?
4 Do you agree with the identification of four distinct ‘character areas’ within
Old Town?
5 Do you have any other comments to make on the draft Character
Statement?
6. Character Areas
6.1 The assessment of the four sub areas would be correct though we would add that
there ought to be a proposal to include the south and west side of the Old Steyne of those
groups of buildings which abut the OT and are of pre C19th dates. Including Marlborough
House, The Royal York Buildings, Pool Passage Pool Valley and the Royal Albion site.
A general comment on the style of presentation is that there is too much reference
to present names of buildings rather than their street numbering. A CAS should have
longevity which will not occur over time with business changes. Though landmark buildings
should be named as such.
There is also a general feeling that the creator of the CAS has taken much from text books
and not walked and understood the area, also an architect’s view not a conservationist’s
view, we feel the document is very incomplete. This is very evident as many historic lanes
and parts of the public domain are not mentioned;
a. Wenlock House closed passage on North Street
b. Lewis’s Buildings thoroughfare with its historic original C17th cobbled and paviored
gullies and gutters
c. Duke Street Yard, untouched since C18th including its unusual timber framed Grade
ll house no.37a Duke Street.
d. Duke Court
e. Duke Passage
f. Unlisted C17th 41 Middle Street with its fascinating passage approach
g. South Street
h. Ship Street Court
i. Poplar Place
j. Clarence Yard
k. C17th passage between 10 and 11 East Street through to Little East Street
l. Passage in front of and extensively behind Nos 36 and 37 East Street.
m. Closed C17th passage behind No.4 Little East Street
n. Pool Passage
The use of the word “Twitten” be it from Sussex has never been used for the small
passages and lanes in the Old Town. Citation, yes in Patcham and Rottingdean, and
elsewhere in the city in the changed farmland areas. But in the Old Town the term should
be “Passage” and / or “Lane”.

Roger Amerena
4 Do you agree with the identification of four distinct ‘character areas’ within
Old Town?
5 Do you have any other comments to make on the draft Character
Statement?
6.3 An omission is that on its west there is a break from the designated building line
creating a wider part, which is visually pleasing. An indication of the older part of the street.
6.5 Rounded should read “segmental”
6.6 The synagogue now disused Grade ll* considered the second most important one
in Europe was Thomas Lainson’s best work.
6.7 The Paganini Room connects to the Regency Room similar, particularly the
ceiling, to Crunden’s C18th Castle Inn Ball Room now moved and rebuilt in Montpelier
Place
6.8 Nos. 4-6 a mock Tudor reproduction coaching inn of 1933 replacing the New Ship
Inn of the 1630s.
6.12 Dominating fig which together with tamarisk were the only form of vegetation in the
town at the beginning of the C19th. Traditional close paviors are used to clad this passage.
6.14 Although refronted with tripartite segmental bayed widows in 1824, it dates…
6.15 Original paviors have been replaced with concrete slab paving.
6.16 The view north from the Town Hall towards the towers of the Chapel Royal and
Hanningtons is an important street view. Nos 11,12 and13 are C17th buildings with the
mid Sussex red tile hung roofs typical of the Lanes of that period.
6.17 This caused the loss of the 1790’s theatre though No.32 respects the height and
setback of that original building
6.20 As it passes the open space of the Friend’s Meeting House , it is fronted unusually
for this area by single storey shops with restructure 1980’s bold details, but opposite is
Lane End House Grade ll, considered the most attractive C18th building in the OT.
6.21 Reference to bow windows should be replaced with “tripartite segmental bay
windows on the upper floors”.
6.25 The extreme east end of Kings Road and Pool Valley formed the only east west
seafront road prior to Grand Junction Road being built in 1829.
6.26 Which is thought to be the eastern side of the ancient open area called the Knab.
The Lanes.
6.27/ 28 Traditionally paved with closely laid paviors.
The Seafront
6.36 The iconic railings with their teak hand rails were installed together the lamp
standards in the 1880’s by Lockwood, the Borough Surveyor. All cast by Every’s of Lewes.
The 1980’s reproduction reinstated horse and carriage guard railing also a feature
6.37 The beach itself is a major factor even with its pebbles which exist even to low tide.
6.40 the frontage dates from the C19th apart from the 1950’s east addition
6.41 This locally listed building with its cream glazed tiled façade,
North Street and West Street
6.42 and the east side dominated by St Paul’s Church Grade ll * Any future development
opposite should respect with importance of this building, although outside the OTCA
6.47 Further to the north west is Dyke Road, formerly the route via Steyning to London

Roger Amerena
Trees.
There is now modern evidence of street tree planting. Hitherto these did not exist
in the Old Town, as it was surrounded by sheep down
Signage
Street signage is predominately of the alloy signs affixed from the 1940’s onwards
when the cast iron framed porcelain signs were replaced. The last survivor is Poplar
Place. Hannington Lane will soon have these reproduction 1860’s style signs
installed.
Pavements
Presently there are almost twenty different mediums of paving in the OTCA. Traditional
paving to the area should be paviors closely laid with no grout. Originals
seen next to Puget’s cottage which would have come from St John’s Common.
Lighting
Lamp standards are mainly of BLEECO form installed at electrification as from the
1930’s with their characteristic swan necked fitting. The period Windsor lights are
modern. Originally the gas lamp standards were made by Reed of North Road with
a cradle and Camberwell lamp fitted to their tops. See St Georges Church and the
Royal Pavilion estate.
Curb stones
Presently a variety, but early ones of Purbeck Granite can be seen, later clean cut
Perthshire granite is predominant but can be seen in Ship Street north and in East
Street
Roof Tiling
The vernacular until the railway arrived in 1841 was for red tile hang roofs and
westerly facing exposed walls. Then slate appeared.

…………………………………o…………………………………..

Moshimo Mash-up

Moshima

Japanese-restaurant Moshimo has submitted new plans for a major £4 million expansion at their existing Brighton premises in Bartholomew Square in the form of new concrete box in the sky according to the Brighton Argus.

Extraordinary as this seems (how many restaurants, after all, have a spare £4m to spend on an extension, and how do they intend to recoup this investment?), this is worrying on two counts:

A: It is completely inappropriate in style and scale for Brighton and will be obtrusive and visible from many vantage points.

B: If approved it would set a disastrous precedent for other brutalist planning applications to get the green light (and increasing numbers seem to be joining the planning application pipeline).

We urge all heritage lovers who feel as we do to oppose this planning application here

We concede that Bartholomew Square is not the prettiest and has already been largely ruined, but this addition will not help and will infringe on the rest of the city.

Nor can this project be regarded as ‘progress’ as it is simply harking back to the 1960s love affair with concrete and box shapes.

Brighton is predominantly a ‘Regency’ city in style.  New developments should respect this and be sensitive and appropriate.

We allow our civic character and identity (not to mention USP) to be destroyed at our peril.

Harriot Mellon – blue plaque unveiling, Friday 12th August 2016

Harriot-Mellon_1200.jpg.gallery

Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission were proud to be part of this wonderful event.

As reported in the Brighton Argus:

A BLUE plaque in memory of Regency society beauty Harriot Mellon, who married a man old enough to be her grandfather and another young enough to be her son, was unveiled in Brighton yesterday by her descendant, the Duke of St Albans.

In a speech watched by civic dignitaries, the 14th Duke of St Albans caused laughter when he declared Harriot his “favourite duchess” – with the obvious exception of his wife, the Duchess of St Albans, who was standing next to him.

He then unveiled the plaque on the wall of The Regency restaurant on the corner of Regency Square and the King’s Road. It reads: Actress Harriot Mellon Duchess of St Albans and Brighton socialite stayed here 1830-37.
He said: “I’m honoured to have this plaque in her memory. She was a remarkable woman who deserves to be remembered with admiration.

“She was my favourite duchess because she was such a character – in fact, she would have been considered quite vulgar by some people.

“She felt more at home in Brighton – Brighton people took to her more than other places. She was such a generous character and that is always a special quality. That is what I liked about her.”

In a welcome speech at the ceremony, Councillor Mo Marsh, the city’s deputy mayor, said: “The plaque is to remember a particular individual who added so much life to her adopted home.

“She was a woman who made her mark by taking the opportunities she had, and Brighton and Hove has reason to be grateful to this strong woman.”

Roger Amerena, of the Brighton and Hove Commemorative Plaque Panel, told the audience that the plaque replaces an old Brighton Corporation one that had become difficult to read. Emilio and Rovertos Savvides, the owners of The Regency restaurant, funded the plaque.

Also at the ceremony were members of the Brighton and Hove Commemorative Plaque Panel, Hugh Macpherson of the Royal Stuart Society, past mayors of Brighton and Hove including Lynda Hyde, Brian Fitch and Francis Tonks, and representatives from The Friends of Regency Square, Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission and Regency Square Area Society.

 Photos of event at The News Co here and at Brighton Bits here

HARRIOT’S INCREDIBLE LIFE

BEAUTIFUL and vivacious, flamboyant and compassionate, the life of Harriot Mellon was extraordinary even for Regency times.

Born in 1777 as the illegitimate daughter of strolling players – travelling theatre groups then considered to be in the lowest depths of society – she followed her parents into acting, making her debut at the age of 10.

She was talent-spotted by the playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan, who was “impressed by her rosy-cheeked good looks and acting ability”, and he secured her a season at the Drury Lane Theatre in London.

She was successful, known for her comic abilities and was understudy to great actresses of the time including Dorothea Jordan and Sarah Siddons, often praised for her professionalism and good humour.

Her best known role was as Volante in The Honey Moon in 1805, the year before a portrait of her was painted by the painter Charles Turner was published. She was also painted by Sir William Beechey in 1815.

It was during her career on stage that she caught the eye of Thomas Coutts, who had founded the bank Coutts and Co, now famously patronised by the royal family.

He was married to Elizabeth Starkey, with whom he and had three daughters but Harriot became his mistress and when his wife died in 1815, they were married – when he was 80 and she was 35.

Their marriage was held in secret to avoid the wrath of his daughters and when he finally told them, they were furious. During their marriage he had to protect her from his daughters’ anger – yet the couple were happily married until he died in 1822.

Thomas left her his entire estate, including his 50 per cent stake in Coutts and Co, making her the richest woman in Europe with a fortune of millions of pounds.

She ran the bank and promoted Thomas’ confidential clerk Andrew Dickie to partner, while trying to placate Thomas’s three daughters by giving them an allowance of £10,000 each a year. Sadly, it did not warm them to her.

During her widowhood, she held parties at her houses in Piccadilly and Highgate and spent time at her house in Regency Square in Brighton.

In 1827, she scandalised society by marrying William Beauclerk, the 9th Duke of St Albans, who was 23 years her junior and “something of a fool and a booby”, according to the book Lady Unknown by Edna Healey. He wooed Harriot for two years – he wanted her money and she wanted his title.

Her “old and true friend” Sir Walter Scott wrote to congratulate her on her marriage and she replied: “What a strange, eventful life has mine been, from a poor little player child, with just food and clothes to cover me, dependent on a very precarious profession, without talent or a friend in the world – first the wife of the best, the most perfect being that ever breathed and now the wife of a duke. You must write my life my true history written by the author of Waverley.”

However, as a result of the marriage, she became the subject of cartoon caricature in “a series of attacks which were carried on for years with a malicious persistence difficult to parallel”, according to her biographer Charles Pearce.

She was depicted as a “stout female of bulging endowments” like melons, and also with moustache and whiskers.

During her marriage, Harriot began to develop a close friendship with Angela Burdett, the youngest of Thomas’s grandchildren, inviting her to balls and dinners at her Brighton house and hawking parties on the Downs.

She saw how Harriot gave gifts to the starving people of Ireland and she travelled with her, Harriot like a princess with coaches and wagons, couriers and servants and always a casket of love letters from her first husband Thomas.

Her health began to break down in 1836 and she died a year later in London, leaving her husband an allowance of £10,000 a year.

during his lifetime and the use of her two properties in London.

The bulk of her estate, worth around £1.8 million, went to Angela, who was required to change her surname to Burdett-Coutts but was excluded from partnership in the bank. With the money, Angela became one of the greatest philanthropists of the Victorian age.

Public Unveiling of Captain Theodore Wright V.C. on 6th May 2016

Theodore Wright VC 1st proofCaptain Wright
 

Friday 6th May 2016 11.30am for noon
Public Ceremony at 119 Lansdowne Place, Hove

All welcome.

Theodore Wright was born at 119 Lansdowne Place, Hove, on 15th May 1883. He was educated at Clifton College and went to the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. In October 1902 he joined the Royal Engineers and after serving in Gibraltar and Cairo he was made Lieutenant in June 1905.

At the start of the First World War Captain Wright was serving in the 57th Field Company of the Royal Engineers. He was immediately sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force and arrived at Mons on 22nd August 1914. The following day he was detailed to supervise the destruction of eight bridges over the canal.

It was whilst attempting to connect the leads under one bridge that Theodore Wright earned his Victoria Cross. Although wounded by shrapnel early in the operation, Wright continued to set charges under the bridges. Working with Lance-Corporal Charles Jarvis, they managed to destroy Jemappes Bridge.

At Vailly, on the 14th September 1914, Theodore Wright assisted the passage of the 5th Cavalry Brigade over a pontoon bridge and was mortally wounded whilst assisting wounded men to shelter. An officer of the Scots Greys wrote in a letter later “At the end of the bridge was an Engineer officer repairing bits blown off and putting down straw as cool as a cucumber – the finest thing I ever saw. The poor fellow was killed just after my troops got across. No man earned a better Victoria Cross.”

Celebrating Middle Street Synagogue

250th Anniversary Poster

As part of the 250th anniversary celebrations of the Brighton and Hove Jewish Community this year, there will be a number of events co-inciding with Brighton Fringe in May raise money for ongoing restoration works to the splendid Grade II* listed Middle Street Synagogue, designed by Thomas Lainson (designer of many fine buildings in Brighton and Hove) and opened in 1875. Early booking is advised, and includes opportunities to marvel at the breathtaking interior first hand. The Synagogue, described as the second most important historic building in Brighton and Hove after the Pavilion, is still used for special events, and remains a landmark to Jewish history in England.

Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission are proud to support their efforts to maintain this architectural gem, right next door to another gem – the Brighton Hippodrome – hopefully now also on the road to restoration to its former glory. Also taking place:

Brighton & Hove Jewry 250

The Sussex Branch of the Jewish Historical Society of England presents:

A Special Anniversary Lecture by Dr Sharman Kadish

Director, Jewish Heritage UK

Middle Street Synagogue and the Architectural Heritage of Brighton & Hove’

Tuesday 10th May 2016 at Ralli Hall, Denmark Villas, Hove BN3 3TH

at 7.45 pm (Doors open 7.15 pm). Refreshments served after lecture.

Tickets £6.00 (JHSE members free) – available from Brighton Fringe website or on door.

 

Dora Bryan – blue plaque unveiling

Today saw the unveiling of the first curved blue plaque in the city to honour the late actress and comedienne Dora Bryan. Fellow comedian and actor (as well as President of the Max Miller Appreciation Society) Roy Hudd led proceedings with the help of fellow celebrity Michael Aspel at the former hotel owned for many years by the actress at CLARGES, 118 Marine Drive. The plaque had been arranged by the Max Miller Appreciation Society with the assistance of the city’s Blue Plaque committee and a donation from Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission. The hotel also featured in two Carry On Films. A large crowd attended and Dora’s sons were also present.

Dora Bryan DB1 5.3.16 DB2 6.3.16 DB4 5.3.16 DB6 5.3.16 DB7 53.16 DB8 5.3.16 DB9 5.3.16 DB12 5.3.16 DB13 5.3.16 DB14 5.3.16

Latest in Battle to Save 15 North Street

Timpsons

23/07/15 Update. Sadly this is a battle BHHC has lost. Apparently the developer organised a PR exercise which entailed the Secretary of State being bombarded with letters calling for the demolition of 15 North Street which has unfortunately succeeded. RIP Timpsons, oldest commercial premises in Brighton.

We have been receiving some good publicity in our campaign to save 15 North Street including this article in the current edition of Private Eye and articles in The Georgian Society magazine, The Brighton Argus, The Brighton and Hove Independent and the Archaeology UK newsletter, among others. 15 North Street itself is currently enjoying a ‘stay of execution’ as the Secretary of State (to whom Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission have appealed) takes time to consider additional information.

imageedit_5_5686251357
Battle to Save 15 North Street makes Private Eye

Saving 15 North Street (Brighton’s Oldest Commercial Building)

Timpsonspuget's cottage

LINKThe battle to Save Puget’s Cottage

15 North Street, Brighton (Timpson) might seem a fairly unremarkable 18th century commercial premises on the face of it, but it is still a fine example of the vernacular and one of the few remaining in the city centre. Behind it, hidden in an internal courtyard, nestles an even older commercial premises, Puget’s Cottage, formerly an annex of the late Hannington’s department store.

The developer’s idea is to bulldoze both to create a ‘Hannington Lane’ additional access into the world famous Brighton Lanes and to convince everyone that that is the only option to create an additional thoroughfare.

BHHC’s idea is that an alternative passage could be created just a few feet to the east through the ground floor of 16 North Street (preserving the upper floors of 16). This would achieve the same aim of an additional lane, but would be a more sensitive and far less costly solution.

In addition two historic buildings would be preserved to enhance the attractions of the Lanes if a rear access was opened up to Puget’s cottage and it was brought back into commercial use or even used as a tourist attraction.

An unsympathetic modern square (Brighton Square) has already been incoporated into the historic Lanes (or Laines as they were formerly known) and with disastrous consequences. It is virtually deserted and with most of its premises closed. It is simply not what people come to Brighton to enjoy and it has done nothing to enhance the Lanes. You will find it on no Brighton postcard.